Wake Cumtux Coulee, lol

A Chinuk Wawa place name that’s a pun!

Central Washington’s Wake Cumtux Coulee can be taken either as two or as three words of Chinook Jargon.

wake cumtux coulee

Wake Cumtux Coulee, at center (image source: page 12 of “A Geological Reconnoissance [sic] in Central Washington by Israel Cook Russell (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1893))

Two words — “Don’t Know” Coulee. (In the inland Pacific Northwest, a coulee [kúli] is a large steep ravine.)

Three words –“Don’t Know How to Run” / “Can’t Run”.

Records of this name extend back to the immediate post-frontier period, the 1890’s.

I haven’t found enough documents to show why it was named so.

Still, we can notice, and smile.

What do you think?

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